How to un-Wing a King

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, lived a little king fixated on an alternate reality curated by fabled fantasy and real-world riches. Even though Limkokwing University has campuses in four different African nations, namely Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, their vision is of a larger footprint.

74-year-old Limkokwing thinks he is a demigod to tens of thousands of students across the African continent where he has successfully expanded the Limkokwing brand of creative and innovative education.

“Your untiring efforts on our behalf have touched the hearts of us all and you have shown true friendship and solidarity with our people and our endeavour to transform South Africa into a free, just and democratic country,” Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Nobel Laureate & First President of South Africa

For decades, he has been known for being shameless in his exhortations about himself, with billboards and full-page ads declaring him the Icon of the World, The Man Who Designed the Future, and so on. But hubris may have finally got the better of him….

So when there was a matter of him appearing on a billboard outside his office, declaring himself the King of Africa, his students decided they had enough.

For his invaluable contribution to helping end apartheid, Tan Sri Limkokwing was awarded South Africa’s highest national honour, the ‘Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo

The billboard, which was erected in late January, had a large poster of Lim Kok Wing, the founder of Limkokwing University, petting a cheetah with the words King of Africa emblazoned above his head.

And the Black Lives Matter movement which has gone global further propelled the billboard into the spotlight as racism reared its ugly head.

Samantha Chin started an online petition, which received well over 6,000 signatures (almost 70% of the university’s student population in Cyberjaya), to bring the billboard down citing it condescending as it portrayed that black people needed saving and Limkokwing was their saviour.

A few days later Limkokwing University issued an apology, in particular to Sharaad C. Kuttan, who earlier roared, “Could there be anything more self-aggrandising, politically grotesque and tone-deaf from an institution purportedly about higher education? If we want to bring our higher education sector into global disrepute this is perhaps a good first step.”

The universty also brought the offensive billboard down.

I digress, but there is no King of Africa as such anymore: Swaziland’s King Mswati III is Africa’s last absolute monarch.

But probably, the most powerful African King ever was Mansa (King) Musa reigning over the Mali Empire from 1312 to 1337. King Musa was an extremely powerful leader and conquered 24 cities. Both TIME and the BBC have commented on his wealth from a modern viewpoint, with the BBC declaring him the richest man of all time.

King Musa was knowledgeable in Arabic and became the first Muslim ruler in West Africa to make the nearly four thousand mile journey to Mecca.

With such unimaginable influence, wealth, and control he would fit in comfortably into a show like Game of Thrones today.

While Tan Sri Limkokwing has had a illustrious career and life, he also has the distinction of building the World’s First Global University founded by a Lim, a honour bestowed by The Federation of Malaysia Lim Associations.

Limkokwing is undoubtedly the most awarded Malaysian on the planet:

  • Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Limkokwing.
  • Lord Limkokwing of Holton UK.
  • Chair of the Advisory Board, United Nations Global Compact Malaysia.
  • Father of Responsible Innovation & Creative Education, Asia Pacific CSR Council.
  • Salver of Honour, World Federation of Friends of the United Nations.
  • Father of Sustainable Creativity by Global Responsible Business Leadership Awards.
  • Commonwealth Champions Award by Commonwealth Youth Council.
  • Masterclass Patriotic Leadership in Unity Building by the Golden Dinar Awards.

Better still, here’s the link.

This article first appeared in last Friday’s issue of MARKETING WEEKENDER. You can also receive your very own free copy of WEEKENDER every Friday. Just save 0122052588 under the name Ham in your phone and WhatsApp him the word “WANT”. This Friday’s issue will sizzle, be the first to receive!

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